Sunday, 2 October 2011

Shopkeepers warned to expect influx of underage smokers

Following the introduction of the vending machine ban in England yesterday, Betty McBride of the British Heart Foundation, which campaigned for the ban, urged shopkeepers to be on the lookout for underage smokers.

Is it just me? or is it really illogical to believe that 11 per cent of underage smokers rely on vending machines for their tobacco? If it's not true that a significant proportion of child smokers use vending machines, why have they told researchers that they do? Is it because it seems to them that the alternative is to shop a dealer who is breaking the law by supplying them or shopping an illegal dealer who also supplies additional drugs? Getting a name for grassing up illegal dealers isn't a good survival tactic.

The fact that children can obtain tobacco from machines in test purchases is very far from being evidence that most determined young smokers will turn to these expensive machines as a regular source of supply. The children will get tobacco from rogue traders or illegal sellers on the street.

I feel that the notion that hordes of teenagers will queue up in shops with faked ID just because there's no longer a tobacco vending machine in the Bull & Bush is far-fetched and reflects a level of official denial about the scale of unofficial/illegal sales of tobacco in Scotland.

North of the border restrictions are tightening too. Retailers of tobacco in Scotland are required to register, but as little as three days ago less than half the retailers had done so. On the alcohol side, 'buy one get one free' and similar offers are now illegal in shops – but since supermarkets have already simply lowered the unit price of wines and crates of beer it remains to be seen how quickly further restrictions will follow.


Xopher said...

Publicly funded righteousness knows no bounds. Does Government deliberately seek out the hard of thinking for such posts?

Bill Gibson said...

Idiots, at the prices charged through vending machines there are cheaper ways to obtain the product and will make no difference to the youth smoking population but will force many family owned businesses to close.